Personalised Learning

…reflections on an afternoon at a conference…

I was allowed out for the afternoon and it was actually quite lovely and frustrating (in equal measure). Lovely because I got to see some people I hadn’t had a chance to catch up with for a while, but then there was the inevitable frustrations which come from talking about the ideal and working within a reality.

As a part of my Globally Responsive Educational Environment, I have been looking at, and beginning to write about, personalised learning environments – today this was raised within one of the groups I was a part of (when I say part of, I was a loner so I was hanging out with one of my friends and we were sitting with her people). So being there amongst the principals and other leaders within the system I was listening to what was going on around me, having only had the opportunity to go to one of the sessions (on Australian Curriculum), I didn’t have a lot which I was able to add, as they were focused on the other sessions at the conference.

The conversation turned to how we are going to be implementing changes within schools over the coming years – and what some of the changes have to be. The hot topic was personalised learning.

The conversation was awesome, amazing and inspiring. Hearing the leadership within the system talking about what it was that they can see happening, what it was that they wanted to happen – was really uplifting. But then reality started to bite. Limitations in access to technology, systems which block whole parts of the internet and the talk about teachers unwilling to take the chance on anything which was “new” for fear it would create more work, brought the mood down significantly. But then there was a question about allowing teachers to take risks with the learning, letting them try to do some of the things they would like to do (something we sometimes like to think of as innovation), but the tone remained negative and the sentence was uttered “but how is all of this going to work with NAPLAN”.

At the moment I am experimenting. I have a class of students who are negotiating their learning, and are going to be doing some very personalised work and assessment. Is this taking more time to plan? Yes, slightly. Am I spending time calling home and chasing things up? No.

I am personalising the learning of my students and it isn’t taking any more of my time than teaching them all the same does. More positive things happen more often. Which is the point of the whole thing isn’t it?

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